NanoWriMo, Writing journey

Lessons learnt from being a NaNoWriMo Winner

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December is here and NaNoWriMo is over for another year. After succeeding in writing 50,000 words – yes I did it if did not already know – I thought I would reflect back on what I have learnt.

  • The main one is I can surpass my own expectations with the support of others and determination.
  • I can prove naysayers wrong.
  • I can not emphasise the importance of support from others. Having people behind you, believing in you when you do not believe in yourself gets you through the slumps and allows you to celebrate the highs. I can not thank those who have been with me enough, especially my daughter for the endless cups of tea and encouragement.
  • Accountability is an important factor. If I had not had Megg Geri checking in to see how I was doing, expecting 2000 words daily – not achieved often – I would have faltered in week two. Words would have fizzled out and  I would have given up. On days when only were written 200 words by lunchtime and I was tired, grumpy or dystonia was giving me a hard time, before I would have said “that will do”. Not wanting to disappoint Megg I would go back in the evening and write some more, sometimes surprising myself with the amount or content.
  • Rewards matter! Knowing I could buy a Kindle book if I completed 10,000 words spurred me on because I needed Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy. The reward of a coffee and catch up with a friend on a Friday if I survived the week gave me the boost I needed at times too. Thank you, Kris and Jennifer.
  • An excel spreadsheet was my best friend towards the end. Seeing my percentage progress on the screen helped me push through the last 10,000 words.
  • I discovered I am more of an evening writer than morning one. Ideas are better in the morning but bulk writing is an evening thing.
  •  Dialogue between characters when it comes to you must be captured and written down. Trying to think of dialogue in front of a blank screen is useless, for me it has to come organically from the players, usually when half asleep or doing something boring not related to writing.
  • Writing daily is a joy (except on  “I can’t do this” days) and routine matters.
  • It is amazing what gets done if people leave you alone to do it. My writing room became my haven. The writing room is also known as the spare box/junk room with a bureau squeezed in just in case I am seen as pretentious as in the J.K Rowling and Arron Banks row.
  • It is hard mentally. It pushes you to work beyond tiredness, life experiences and forces you to give priority to writing. As a mum and wife this was one of the hardest things. Putting myself first rather than others is not natural for me but they are old enough to look after themselves. I am in awe of people who can do it with a young family, work and other responsibilities.
  • I can get through the slumps to get to a better place.
  • It has pushed my health to its limit. I think I have got a way with it. I’m not in hospital which has happened before when I have pushed myself too far but I rattle more with more pills, have accumulated more consultants this last month and slept for seemingly days since Nano has finished. Is the pain payback worth it? Yes but I’m glad it is over. I could not keep the intensity up in the long run.
  • I need to get my head around dictating, my hands, well hand as I am a one handed sometimes one fingered typist, is painful and is on the verge of going on strike.
  • Knowing your characters well helps, but it is great when they throw surprises and unexpected ones turn up.
  • I love writing and need to continue. Having a few days off I miss it.
  • I can achieve when I believe.

Now I need to finish the draft so the joy of editing can begin.

Did you do NaNoWriMo?

What did you learn, I would love to know?

Happy writing.

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

The last NaNoWriMo update of 2018

It is the end of November and this year’s NaNoWriMo is over. Guess what? I did it!

I am a

After reaching the word count of 50,022 this morning.

I will write more soon but I am busy celebrating and giving my sore hands a rest.

Hot Chocolate and cake

Thank you Megg Geri for making my goal a reality and for those who have supported me along the way.

Love

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

No longer aspiring to be a writer

I have recently read a post by Lucy V Hay on Bang2Write blog titled Why You Should Stop Calling Yourself an Aspiring Writer It resonated with me deeply because I am guilty of this. In all my bios and when I talk to people, I always say “I’m an aspiring writer.” Never the words “I am a writer.” But today in time for NaNoWriMo and Samhain, where it is time to let go of things you no longer need,  these words are gone.

 

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Words to remember

I may not be published; my current manuscript is unfinished and a fledgling one starts in two days time but I have improved since I published my first post here. Writing has become my all-consuming thought whether words are written or not. Therefore, I am a writer.

Happy writing!

Kate Kenzie's Blog

Writing journey

Preptober is here the countdown to Nanowrimo

October is halfway through and NaNoWriMo is creeping closer. I can’t believe it is that time of year again but the pumpkins are lined up ready for Halloween so it must be. I have that familiar rush of excitement I feel when a new project is forming. Yes, instead of ploughing on with The Ellfaenian Journals I am using Preptober to plan a new WIP. It has been brewing for a long time but it is time to do it. Based on my favourite character, Willow Anderson from the journals I can’t wait to tell her story.

Inspired by a teacup and prompt from my local writing group, she has evolved from a small player to a fully formed personality influencing my life. After all, if you are researching tea you have to try them. I have become obsessed with teacups and saucers while my hubby has discovered the joy of loose leaf tea again. Our (or should I say his) teapot collection has bloomed in recent weeks. Every time he goes to a car-boot he comes back with a bargain. I am a colour magpie and attracted to all things bright but brown Betty teapots make glorious cuppas bordering on perfection. They have converted me to love them. Expect more tea related posts as Willow, a witch from Whitby gets further into my head. She loves the stuff.

My characters are waiting for November to begin while my Pinterest boards are flowing with inspirational settings. Unlike before where I planned the plot to the nth degree, I aim to be more fluid and go with the flow; an experiment to see which style works. It is also a different genre, romance so wish me luck. I will need it.

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Happy writing!

Short story, Writing journey

Flash fiction: The Story of Eeyore’s Tail

It’s time for some flash fiction. This was written for my writing group after being given the prompt:

Choose a well known fictional character. Write why they did what they did.

While everyone chose well known characters from literature by Charles Dickens, the only characters I could think about were from children literature including Eeyore from A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.

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The Story of Eeyore’s Tail

Crushed against the wall Eeyore looked up at the small child next to him to see her eyes tightly closed. Maybe if he did the same, he would be invisible too instead of hiding behind a musty settee in the parlour listening to the stampede of feet on the wooden floor in the hall. Doors opened and closed, whispers silenced until all he could hear was the countdown from the hall.

Ten. Nine. Eight.

When Louise chose him from her menagerie of toys to attend Alexander’s birthday party he was so excited and proud he thought he would burst his seams. Instead of the colourful toys and her pretty dolls he, a round cloth donkey with his drab grey coat, had been seen at last and was the envy of all in the nursery. The party was all anyone could talk about; there was speculation on whether there would be ice cream as well as jelly, whether jelly really wobbled as described in the books Nanny read and what the cake would look like. Louise chattered endlessly about the dress she would wear and the need for matching new ribbons. All the toys worried about whether Alexander would receive his much desired catapult and if they would in turn be used for target practise but Eeyore hadn’t cared because it was him who would see the party first hand. Now, all he wanted was to be in the toy box with the others. Anywhere but here.

Seven. Six. Five. Four.

He could feel Louise’s heart beat faster and he prayed they wouldn’t be seen.

Three. Two. One.

“Coming ready or not”, bellowed Alexander. His loud footsteps faded into the distance and Louise took a deep breath.

It started so well. Eeyore was in awe with the scene in front of him; bunting decorating the room, every child wore party hats, the table was spread with birthday treats and was that the infamous jelly he could spy? Louise was ushered in and Eeyore watched as the gift she gave Alexander joined the growing mound of presents in the corner.  The children all sat down in a circle before passing a parcel to each other unwrapping layer after layer of paper when the music stopped until it revealed a prize for Louise and the first tantrum from Alexander ensued. Consoled with the promise he could open his presents calm reigned again but Eeyore felt the first tingle of apprehension. He tried to remember all the gifts he saw but his mind went blank when the dreaded catapult was unwrapped. The nursery toys would not be happy and neither was Louise. She held him tighter and tighter. Further party games followed with Alexander being declared the winner until it was time for hide and seek.

Eeyore froze as a thunder of shoes headed their way and the door creaked open.

“Found her” Alexander loomed over them causing Louise to squeal and run off without him. Eeyore felt himself snatched up roughly before he hurtled through the air from boy to braying boy. “Let’s play pin the tail on the donkey” one suggested. The small toy quivered in fear.  It silently screamed when they ripped his tail from his body. He wanted Louise. He wanted the sanctuary of the nursery. With a scarf tied over his eyes, a boy was turned round and round. It was only when the donkey saw his tail and a large pin in the lumbering child’s hand he knew what was coming. Over and over the pin jabbed into him to the sound of the boys raucous laughter.

“Time for food” a voice called. The children retreated. Left alone and discarded in the corner of the room, Eeyore began to cry. He never saw the cake nor knew whether jelly really did wobble and when he returned to the toys he refused to talk. His humiliation and shame of losing his tail was too great. Eventually he lay forgotten at the bottom of the toy box, shunned for his aloofness until one day he found himself in a different nursery with a boy called Christopher Robin. His life began again but he never forgot that day and he always hated birthdays.

 

Happy weekend and happy writing!

Reading vs Writing: Priorities
Writing journey

Reading VS Writing: Priorities

I have checked my progress in the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2018 and I am doing better than expected – much better. It also highlighted how much I read versus write. If I spent as much time writing as I do reading I could be 90% through my first draft rather than the challenge.

Reading versus writing
My progress in the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2018

 

It also highlights this in this tweet I have seen today

I have completed more hours for NaNoWriMo and now I have had a swift kick up the bum it’s time to do more writing and less reading. I must catch up and go beyond.

The only problem is I am a book addict and my new library stash is not helping my resolve. Is there a bookaholic anonymous?

Reading vs Writing: Priorities
Today’s library stash!

Happy writing and not reading!

Kate Kenzie's Blog

WIP update: 48,274

NaNoWriMo hours: 10

and Percy is still alive

 

work in progress, Writing journey

Time slipping by

Where is time going? I need a pause button to catch up and my hand to stop screaming every time I touch a keyboard or hold phone for my than 5 minutes.

Word count for WIP in minus figures due to editing for 2 competitions. The standards will exceed my capability but I will try all the same.

 

#feelingdisheartened #beingslow #painwinning

P.S Dear Universe,

A winning scratchcard would be wonderful!  I need to buy new laptop and updated Dragon – my current one is screeching under the strain of running more than one program. It matches by writing speed.

Thanks